It just feels so Good!

3wheel110v2op

It just feels so good! Yes, it’s that glorious sensation you experience when eagerly opening that pristine door for the very first time as your nose is gleefully engulfed with those joyous automotive wofts associated with that new car interior. The exciting mood continues as you place your eagerly awaiting bottom into that virgin seat with the knowledge that you are indeed the first. You run your hands in a circular motion, anticlockwise, then clockwise, as you gingerly grip the steering wheel with each of your probing fingers where you slowly discover every notch and groove. Out on the road, you smile with snug satisfaction as all parts of the car work in harmonious unison as you carefully navigate the surrounding traffic with a self-imposed mode of cautious stealth. The feeling lasts for an unmeasured while, and then without notice, unfortunately, stops. You have now reached the stage of habitual blaséness where that initial feeling of excitement has regrettably diminished into nothingness. It’s now just a car.

Many an innovative organisation initially commence their operations with that “new car feeling”, but alas, over time, and particularly with success, that blasé nonchalant state gradually permeates throughout the structure leading to creative stagnation. So, what’s the solution?

Think of that car again, but this time focus on all the scheduled, and the occasional unplanned maintenance that is required to keep it humming in a state of perpetual driving bliss. This can take the form of mechanical, structural or aesthetic adjustments, all are required, and need ongoing investment, otherwise it ends up doomed on the scrap heap soon to be forgotten.

Innovation needs ongoing investment to stimulate and maintain the creative machinations of the business. All departments working in the organisation need to finely tuned, continually aligned, and supplemented with that combustible spark of ideation, otherwise it will slowly come to a resistant state of undesirable lethargy. However, sometimes an organisation needs to trade in the old ways of doing business and upgrade to a newer and more inspirational model. If so, don’t be scared to let your employees experience that wonderful new car smell, particularly as some of the newer ones may have never savoured that joy, and those longer serving ones, well, they may need a strong nasal refresher!

So if you want to maintain that ongoing pleasant innovation woft in your business, make sure you keep it well maintained and stimulated, otherwise, you might as well get a horse and get used to a slower, and rather more odorous form of reduced creativity.

Corporate Guide Illuminators

Car headlights

Recently I was driving at night on a rather windy and narrow road in the country. The region was quite desolate so there were no other cars to be seen, apart from the occasional animal leaping in front of my car’s headlights with a stunned suicidal look of fright and utter surprise, including me!

Navigating the dark road terrain took a large amount of concentration, particularly as I had no idea as to the width of the road on quite a few occasions. This resulted in me reducing my driving speed rather dramatically as I attempted to come to terms with the unfamiliar environment.

If I had been following a car the whole journey would have been much easier and far less stressful. In this situation, the other car’s headlights would have illuminated the road for me and I could have judged their trajectory by monitoring the red lights permeating from the back of their vehicle.

Let’s explore this analogy in the corporate office. On many occasions when starting a new job or task, we are left to our own devices from which we frequently learn via a process of trial and error. If we are unsure of the required process, we typically proceed with some degree of caution so as to minimize the likelihood of potential mistakes.

However, if we had a ‘corporate guide’ (or mentor) to assist us along our business journey we would progress with greater confidence and speed and arrive at the final objective (or destination) in a much more comfortable state of mind and improved productivity.

One option is to equip those people in the business classified as mentors with a red reflector on their backs and bottoms and a white lantern on their stomachs, just like with a car to provide direction for other employees, but somehow I can’t see this being accepted by the wearer?

A better, and maybe less attention seeking option is for the organization to take the time and effort to train mentors on how to work and encourage those employees who are deemed less knowledgeable on an activity prior to them embarking on the project or task.

However, I do quite like the idea of highlighting mentors with a large hat with a gold flashing light positioned on top to recognize their mentorship skills….but that’s just me.

The Achievement of “Mobility Optimization”

Roads these days now cater for a variety of users, all with differing needs and requirements. To do this, many a driver will have observed the ever growing emergence of a number of specialist lanes segmenting the bitumen for motorised vehicles, cyclists, roller skaters, skateboarders, those wanting to travel slowly, and of course pedestrians. Each lane is typically branded with a painted logo and may even enjoy a unique colour and/or road texture to provide additional differentiation.

No longer do roads just exist for the humble automobile, they now facilitate the movement of a many a mode of transport. The result is what I will term “mobility optimization”.

There is another transport corridor which could benefit greatly from the use of “mobility optimization”, and that is in the corporate office.

Most offices have a maze of corridors that link employees between various work stations, meeting rooms, food lounges and of course those dead-end traffic zones known as photocopy rooms. People are all walking at different speeds, some dawdling along in deep thought, others perched up against a wall enjoying some social interchange creating a walking hazard for others, some carefully juggling a number of work items such as computers, folders and a steaming long black coffee cup that is poised for spillage, others just in a hurry to get out of the building!

The solution is obvious! The corporate office needs to establish transit lanes in the workplace corridors to facilitate “mobility optimization”.

For those people in a hurry, their corridor lane could be made from polished floorboards to assist fast walking, running or even the use of corporate approved roller skates (furnishing the company logo) for the achievement of optimum speed around the building.

The slow walking lane would consist of a thick shag pile carpet, together with the occasional table and chair on which a number of drinking glasses would be placed to support and maintain the reduced speed objective.

Like on a freeway, where car breakdown zones exist on the side of the road out of harms way, office corridors would be designed with “dialog zones” where employees could stop and socialise in small out of the way “bunker nooks” that do not hinder those co-workers that are on the move.

Surveillance speed cameras could be mounted above each corridor to ensure the correct use of each lane. Those employees observed not following the “terms and conditions” of their selected lane usage, would receive a “mobility optimization infringement notice” that would be E-mailed to their work computer. Those repeat infringement offenders, would feel the wrath of the corporate wandering wofters! (a wrath that most people do not want to experience!).

So, in order to eliminate your corporate office of all movement hindrance resulting in transport inefficiency, may I suggest that you initiate a program of “mobility optimization” and enjoy a much more pleasant and effective office environment!

Trinkets of Status

Mr. Morgan Howard, Q. C., "Energetic Toryism"

Have you ever noticed that as you get more senior in an organisation, either professionally or academically, that the size of your “trinkets of status” increases correspondingly? For instance:

A PhD when graduating has a bright and very colourful hat that is bigger than those with a humble Bachelor’s degree.
A Judge has a sturdy and “not so impressive” wig and dominant gown that conveys their esteemed authority when in the court.
The CEO drives a flashy car that somehow always remains clean regardless of how many days they spend on their private farm roughing it in the dirt.

This got me thinking…..what if these trinkets of status were distributed on a random basis to those in their organisation even though they were not entitled to exhibit them?

Would those observing these new trinket recipients view them in a different light? I suspect so, initially at least in the short term. Those wearing the trinket may also momentarily take on the persona of the rightful trinket owner and demonstrate a higher level of performance and innovation?

So why not give it a go in your place of employment? The results could be rather interesting!?

There is of course one condition that needs to be imposed with respect to the CEO’s car. Before returning it, it does need to be clean, and should there be any speeding fines, the honorary trinket person is still personally responsible for the payment!

 

Focus on the “N”

gear shift

Most of us when we are at work are too busy racing from one activity to the next one with minimal time to think and plan the next steps. If our workflow processes were likened to a car, we would be continually moving from 1st gear, to 2nd, then to 3rd and countless higher gears, back down again, sometimes into reverse, and then do it all once more! I’m sure that this sounds all too familiar!

But how much time do we spend in the “neutral gear (N)”?

In a car, we all pass through neutral on the way to the other gears, however, if it is not done correctly, we tend to “crunch” the gears and make that all too painful sound!

This got me thinking….

At work, what if we spent more time in the “neutral gear” tactfully planning and considering our next steps before we blindly or habitually commence the next activity? If so, we might find that there are more optimum “gear choices” available to use that better utilize our limited time and achieve a more productive and efficient result?

So, next time you are driving in your car, focus more on the “N” and similarly try and think about exploring the “N” in the office. The result could be much more harmonious and may lead to less of the “crunch” in your work routine?